How the hell can Google gave me an Acer Aspire One? No no… actually, the money is true from Google but then I exchange it with Aspire One. Fortunately, my Ad Sense checque arrived from Google just for couple weeks ago. And lucky me that this “harvest” time, the amount accumulations from month to month in short was higher than before. So, I guess it’s not too bad that I spent about US$ 520 for a tool to increase my blogging spirit. Yeah, from blog for blog, I though.
At First Sight
There’s so many netbooks present now but I don’t’ know, why I love Aspire One so much? Actually, I was drilling over when it appears for the first time in the middle of the year with that damned 8GB SSD. But, I have to be patient until this hard drive storage version is released officially since I got interested more with large storage. Like others review said that this tiny thing has standard in light weight & also hardware platform, I mean in netbook class. But I was too impressed with Acer cute design, especially with white casing color.
This A105 type released bundled with Windows XP Home & SP3 included. It comes with 120GB hard drive (10GB reserved for recovery partition), 1GB RAM & Atom typically processor. The Aspire One dimension has a slightly built. About 25% smaller than my Acer Travelmate 6291 & 40% littler than my old fatty Micron Pentium III notebook.
Take a look further over their display, the 14” normal screen, 12.1” & 8.9” wide screen. The first display looks too bulky compared with this white Aspire One. It was indeed that non existing of optical drive (and others devices) significantly helping reducing it’s size & weight (almost 4kg on Micron & 1kg on Aspire One). But after all, this is what we call technology, when trends are heading to a smaller & lighter weight devices.
Anyway, using Aspire One to write this article was comfortable enough. The keyboard feels so soft & pleasant to use, even the “weird look” internal touch pad (which some peoples hate it that way). But, I don’t have any trouble as I used both devices. Well, sometime in early, I often hit “=” character when I thought it was a backspace key. But now it doesn’t happened anymore. By the way, as you see on picture below, there’s no more Acer empowerment special key on keyboard panel. The only non standard button is just a power switch.
Having a netbook with 0.3Mpx is more than enough for me, as I rarely (even never) using it as video chat messenger. Anyway, web camera existence in notebook not more than just an accessory (or electronic mirror to self-look for me, precisely). But, it’s all seems alright.
On left panel of Aspire One, there’s 5 I/O connectors available; SDHC for storage expansion slot, 1 USB slot, LAN, VGA out & power jack. Meanwhile on right side there’s 2 USB slot, headset & microphone jack, 5-in-1 card reader (again) & also common Kensington locker. At the front panel, nothing is there except a wireless switch at the right side. Switching on or off as simply as slide it in right direction.
Even that the 8.9” screen looks small, but it’s excellent to display out the 1024x600 resolution mode. Like everybody said, this resolution is standard particularly to seeing website for browsing conformances. You can compared to others which having poor smaller screen (e.g.: 7” with 800x480 resolution) in Asus 1st generation of Eee netbook.
This is my first time having a notebook which has longer age of battery life. With 6-cell, I can make up to 5 hours typing without plugging in the power jack. This is superb for me while I can carrying this over everywhere with no afraid of losing out the power. Unfortunately, one thing I hate is the shape of the battery. It’s too sticky out make it appear being fat. This kind remains me to a local model with this same battery form – which I very dislike it that way.
Core 2 Duo vs Atom: And the Winner belongs to…
Indirectly, the born of Intel Atom has teased me apart. What kind of its CPU performance? Does it match to the price? Is it quite powerful to serve it as programmer machine? Well, here’s the explanation with my style of course. The test environment only involving 2 type of hardware devices; Acer Travelmate 6291 & Acer Aspire One. Please note that this comparison doesn’t purposed to judging device or machine subjectivity but nothing other than “drawing” each of it’s capability in semi-real utilizing. On this chance too, I only use 2 benchmarking application which is SiSoft Sandra Professional 2003 & Futuremark 3DMark 2003.
The first test takes the comparison of both CPU arithmetic benchmarks. SiSoft result explains that Dhrystone ALU & Whetstone FPU/SSE2 in Atom actually is 70% lower than Core 2 Duo. That was surprising me about arithmetic processing speed on Atom. Although, this test still placed Atom more bit powerful than Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz with 256 L2 cache.
Take a look further to CPU multimedia benchmark; Integer iSSE result on Atom only 20% compared to Core 2 Duo! And Floating Point iSSE is about 60% lower than Core 2 Duo. This means that Atom processor basically has the same performance with Intel Pentium III-S 1.2 GHz with 512 L2 cache.
How about the cache memory benchmark? The result even more fantastic! It shows that cache memory on Aspire One has left about 75% lower than Travelmate 6291. So, all I can said that cache memory on Aspire One typically similar only with Intel Celeron 1.3 GHz on Intel 810E PC100 CL2 SDRAM.
Anyway, memory speed on both systems (the same 1 GB on each) has a bit dispute. Only 10% difference makes Aspire One not too slow when opening an application with huge resources needs compared to Travelmate. With the same references, memory bandwidth used on Aspire One having equal value with SiS 645DX PC2700U CL2 DDR on Intel Pentium 4-B 512 L2 cache.
The only amazing point upward to Aspire One is the fastest hard drive. Drive index of it is 13% speedy than Travelmate even that it has same size of partition within NTFS & 15GB of drive C:\. I still wonder why that it happened. Is it caused by the type of Western Digital manufacture used on Aspire One? Anyway, it did resembled with the use of ATA66 2xRAID0 in 7200RPM with 2MB cache.
Overall with those 5 benchmark tests above still bring Core 2 Duo processor as the winner because it’s approximately 3rd time faster than Atom. Such was the case, I think Aspire One still potential purposed for web based programmer machine beside the use of daily office, internet & presentation only. And for me, the price is quite match for it.
One thing for sure that Aspire One has poor index for gaming machine category. It was proven by it’s low score on 3DMark 2003, about 50% below Travelmate 6291. And it even couldn’t playing Need For Speed: Underground smoothly on 640x480 with medium graphic details (I though it was 10 FPS only). No doubt that netbooks (the same class from all manufactures, I though) is prepared to concede the point of simple jobs like office & internet activities such as blogging, browsing or chatting & not intended to gamers or others difficult task. So, be more considerable before you buy this machine.
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